Manchester City Council's commitment to continue its support for the Manchester Armed Forces Covenant was outlined in a report to the Executive today ( Wednesday 30 June).
The first Annual Report looked back at the progress made since Manchester re-signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in December 2019.
Against the backdrop of a pandemic year, a huge amount of work has taken place to promote the Armed Forces Covenant in Manchester, including
- The appointment of a dedicated council Armed Forces Covenant Coordinator to support the Armed Force community and implement the action plan bringing the city into line with other local authority partners
- A training programme developed to raise awareness among customer facing staff to to ensure they are equipped to support and signpost veterans to appropriate services, continues to be rolled out across the council.
- The council's application to be considered for a gold award for the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which recognises employer support for the principles of the armed forces covenant, is currently under consideration. Manchester already holds a silver award.
- Work continues apace on improving recruitment chances for the Armed Forces community to ensure they are not disadvantaged when applying for jobs.
- Free Manchester leisure passes have been given out to veterans identified by the charity Walking with the Wounded to support them in their physical and mental health
The pandemic has inevitably had an impact on some of the commitments made, which have been postponed until restrictions have been lifted. This includes the resigning of the covenant alongside health partner organisations, whose focus has understandably been on the pandemic, this will take place in the coming year.
Plans are underway for an event in the city centre to complete and celebrate the Freedom of the City granted by the council to 209 Battery, the Manchester Artillery. Negotiations to re-establish Manchester's affiliation with a new generation Naval Frigate are also continuing.
The covenant is an ongoing commitment by the council and its health partners to ensure that members of the armed forces and their families are treated equitably and aren’t at a disadvantage when accessing services such as health, housing, employment and skills and education in recognition of the contribution and sacrifice they have made for their country.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, said:
"The last year has been a difficult one for the whole country but I am very pleased by the progress we have made to support our Armed forces community. The onset of the pandemic has undoubtedly affected some of our planned work, but we have also made great strides and have focused on areas where we know we can make a difference.
We want to redress the balance to a community that has had to deal with challenges in all aspects of their life a concept totally alien to most people, and we want to promote Manchester as an armed forces friendly city, building on the strengths and skills that armed forces personnel have and ensuring that ex service personnel have access to the wealth of opportunities on offer across the city."